© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Rafael Nadal is now leading the ATP Race To London after winning his 12th Roland Garros title.

Nadal Passes Djokovic In Battle For Year-End No. 1

Battle for year-end No. 1 is closest it has been at this point since 2012

Rafael Nadal took the lead in the battle for the year-end No. 1 ATP Ranking from Novak Djokovic by winning his 12th Roland Garros title on Sunday.

Nadal passed Djokovic for the lead in the ATP Race To London with 5,505 points, taking a 780-point advantage over the second-placed Serbian (4,725). It is the third consecutive year in which Nadal has led the Race after the season’s second Grand Slam, and he has fittingly won the title on the Parisian terre battue on each occasion. This sets the stage for what could be an exciting battle for the year-end No. 1 ATP Ranking.

ATP Race To London Standings

 Player  Points
 1. Rafael Nadal  5,505
 2. Novak Djokovic  4,725
 3. Roger Federer  3,360
 4. Dominic Thiem  3,305
 5. Stefanos Tsitsipas  2,940

This is the closest the Race has been between the Top 2 players after Roland Garros since 2012, when Nadal led Djokovic by 630 points after claiming his seventh trophy in Paris. In 2017, Nadal led second-placed Roger Federer by 2,870 points and last season, he was ahead of second-placed Alexander Zverev by 1,545 points.

Nadal is now in a strong position to make a run for his fifth year-end finish (2008, ‘10, ‘13, ‘17) atop the ATP Rankings. Nadal would join Djokovic, Federer and Jimmy Connors in a tie for the second-most times accomplishing the feat, only trailing Pete Sampras, who did it on six occasions.

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It is impressive that the 33-year-old has passed Djokovic considering last month, the Serbian took a 900-point lead in the Race by winning the Mutua Madrid Open, and Nadal had not reached a clay-court final in 2019. But the Spaniard found his rhythm, triumphing at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia and then losing just two sets en route to his victory in Paris to make his move in the race for year-end No. 1.

The 33-year-old, who now holds a 32-5 record in 2019, is well on his way to qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the 15th consecutive year. Nadal, the 2010 and 2013 finalist at The O2, made his debut at the season finale in 2006, when it was held in China.

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